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The Atchafalaya River Basin

History and Ecology of an American Wetland

Bryan P. Piazza

In this comprehensive, one-volume reference, Nature Conservancy scientist Bryan P. Piazza poses five key questions:
—What is the Atchafalaya River Basin?
—Why is it important?
—How have its hydrology and natural habitats been managed?
—What is its current state?
—How do we ensure its survival?
For more than five centuries, the Atchafalaya River Basin has captured the flow of the Mississippi River, becoming its main distributary as it reaches the Gulf of Mexico in south Louisiana. This dynamic environment, comprising almost a million acres of the lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley and Mississippi River Deltaic Plain, is perhaps best known for its expansive swamp environments dominated by baldcypress, water tupelo, and alligators. But the Atchafalaya River Basin contains a wide range of habitats and one of the highest levels of biodiversity on the North American continent.     
Piazza has compiled and synthesized the body of scientific knowledge for the Atchafalaya River Basin, documenting the ecological state of the basin and providing a baseline of understanding. His research provides a crucial resource for future planning. He evaluates some common themes that have emerged from the research and identifies important scientific questions that remain unexplored.

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Attracting Birds in the Texas Hill Country

A Guide to Land Stewardship

Rufus Stephens

After years of working with landowners, land managers, naturalists, county officials, and others about wildlife management and land stewardship for birds in the Texas Hill Country, biologist Rufus Stephens and educator Jan Wrede teamed up to write a practical guidebook on how to improve habitat for birds on both small and large properties throughout the Hill Country.

Because each bird species has specific needs for cover, food, water, nesting, and rearing their young, the book is organized by Hill Country habitat types: wooded slopes and savannahs; grasslands; rivers and creeks; canyons, seeps, and springs; tanks and ponds; plus residential backyards. Each chapter contains an in-depth discussion of common problems and possible solutions for developing optimum habitat. The book showcases 107 species in their habitats with color photographs and a short descriptive account of how to know the bird and care for its habitat. Three additional chapters on predator control, deer management, and cedar management offer detailed information on these special issues that impact the presence of birds throughout the region.

By helping readers recognize and evaluate habitat health and then use appropriate habitat enhancement practices, the authors hope to inspire and enable widespread and effective bird conservation in the Texas Hill Country.

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Austin-Boston Connection

Five Decades of House Democratic Leadership, 1937–1989

By Anthony Champagne, Douglas B. Harris, James W. Riddlesperger Jr. and Garrison Nelson

For the more than fifty years that Democrats controlled the U.S. House of Representatives, leadership was divided between Massachusetts and Texas. When the Speaker was from Texas (or nearby Oklahoma), the Majority Leader was from the Boston area, and when the Speaker was from Boston, the Majority Leader was from Texas.  The Austin-Boston Connection analyzes the importance of the friendships (especially mentor-protégé relationships) and enmities within congressional delegations, regional affinities, and the lynchpin practice of appointing the Democratic Whip.

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Barrier Island Suite

Kendall Dunkelberg

The poems of Barrier Island Suite are inspired by the life, art, and writings of Walter Inglis Anderson, who spent much of his adult life exploring the barrier islands of Mississippi, sketching and painting their flora and fauna, and chronicling his adventures in numerous logs. The islands form a liminal space between the land and sea, between  nature and culture, between madness and conformity. Elements of the Anderson’s life, including his travels, his struggles with mental illness, and his murals at Oldfields, the Ocean Springs Public School and Community Center, and the cottage at Shearwater Pottery are also incorporated.


from "The Islander"

Painting his subject,
Wen Yü K’o becomes bamboo.
Han Kan turns to horse.
Walter merges with island,
follows pig tunnels through brush.

In flotsam shoes, he
walks on water moccasins
and on copperheads.
Not immune to their venom
he suffers fevered visions.

He’s the young heron
seen climbing a dead pine spar
with feet, wings, and bill,
stretching out to mount a cloud
and take the heavens by storm.

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Baseball in America and America in Baseball

Edited by Donald G. Kyle and Robert B. Fairbanks

Presenting views from a variety of sport and history experts, Baseball in America and America in Baseball captures the breadth and unsuspected variety of our national fascination and identification with America’s Game. Chapters cover such well-known figures as Ty Cobb and lesser-known topics like the “invisible” baseball played by Japanese Americans during the 1930s and 1940s. A study of baseball in rural California from the Gold Rush to the turn of the twentieth century provides an interesting glimpse at how the game evolved from its earliest beginnings to something most modern observers would find familiar. Chapters on the Negro League’s Baltimore Black Sox, financial profits of major league teams from 1900 to 1956, and American aspirations to a baseball-led cultural hegemony during the first half of the twentieth century round out this superb collection of sport history scholarship. Baseball in America and America in Baseball belongs on the bookshelf of any avid student of the game and its history. It also provides interesting glimpses into the sociology of sport in America.

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Bats of Texas

Loren K. Ammerman, Christine L. Hice, and David J. Schmidly; Illustrations by Carson Brown; Photographs by J. Scott Altenbach

With all new illustrations, color photographs, revised species accounts, updated maps, and a sturdy flexible binding, this new edition of the authoritative guide to bats in Texas will serve as the field guide and all-around reference of choice for amateur naturalists as well as mammalogists, wildlife biologists, and professional conservationists.
Texas is home to all four families of bats that occur in the United States, including thirty-three species of these important yet increasingly threatened mammals. Although five species, each represented by a single specimen, may be regarded as vagrants, no other state has a bat fauna more diverse, from the state’s most common species, the Brazilian free-tailed bat, to the rare hairy-legged vampire.
The introductory chapter of this new edition of Bats of Texas surveys bats in general—their appearance, distribution, classification, evolution, biology, and life history—and discusses public health and bat conservation. An updated account for each species follows, with pictures by an outstanding nature photographer, distribution maps, and a thorough bibliography. Bats of Texas also features revised and illustrated dichotomous keys accompanied by gracefully detailed line drawings to aid in identification. A list of specimens examined is located at batsoftexas.com.

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Beaches of the Gulf Coast

Richard A. Davis

Much of the world’s population lives within thirty miles of a coast, and beaches are perhaps the most popular tourist destinations worldwide. The Gulf of Mexico is no exception: Millions of people make their homes nearby, and many of them spend considerable time at the beach, joined by millions more tourists and seasonal visitors.

In Beaches of the Gulf Coast, Richard A. Davis Jr., a veteran coastal geologist, explores the dynamics of beach formation, providing the reader with a basic understanding of the characteristics and behavior of the beach environment and what causes it to change. He compares natural beach environments with those that have experienced human intervention, and he profiles many of the common plants and animals that grow and live on and adjacent to the beach.

Following the coastline from the Florida Keys around the Gulf Coast to Varadero Beach in Cuba, Davis describes the major characteristics of beaches in each US state, with a final chapter on Mexico and Cuba. Focusing on public beaches, Davis emphasizes the special features of the beaches, indicating whether and how they are nourished—either naturally or artificially—and pointing out which beaches have problems and which ones are doing well.

Including photographs, satellite images, charts, and maps that reveal the natural processes of beach formation and erosion, Davis showcases the beauty of some of the Gulf’s “best” beaches, both popular and remote. Beaches of the Gulf Coast provides a broad range of basic knowledge for all who own beachfront property, who live near the beach, or who simply love the beach and want a better understanding of this special coastal environment.

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Beef, Brush, and Bobwhites

Quail Management in Cattle Country

Fidel Hernández and Fred Guthery; Foreword by Wyman Meinzer

In this completely revised Texas A&M University Press edition, Guthery and coauthor Fidel Hernández have breathed new life into a classic work that for more than twenty years has been teaching biologists, managers, and ranchers to "think like a quail." Updated with the latest research on quail habitat management, predator control, and recent issues such as aflatoxin contamination, Hernández and Guthery help land stewards understand the optimum conditions for encouraging and sustaining quail populations while continuing to manage rangeland for cattle production. Written in a style that is entertaining and easy to read, this book is, in Guthery’s words, "meant to be kept on the dashboard of your pickup." More than 150 helpful photographs and figures, along with supporting tables, accompany the text. In his foreword to this edition of Beef, Brush, and Bobwhites, respected Texas wildlife photographer Wyman Meinzer writes of how the calls of a covey of bobwhites—or the unfortunate absence of those calls—can remind us "that wildlife and habitat conservation is directly proportional to the quality of stewardship that we bestow on the land."

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Before the Rhetorical Presidency

Edited by Martin J. Medhurst

Since its identification in 1981, the rhetorical presidency has drawn both defenders and critics. Chief among those critical of the practice is political theorist Jeffrey K. Tulis, whose 1987 book, The Rhetorical Presidency, helped popularize the construct and set forth a sustained analysis of the baleful effects that have allegedly accompanied the shift from a “constitutional” presidency to a “rhetorical” one. Tulis locates this shift in the presidencies of Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, arguing that the rhetorical presidency is a twentieth-century phenomenon. Yet not all scholars agree with this assessment. Before the Rhetorical Presidency is an attempt to investigate how U.S. presidents in the nineteenth century communicated with their publics, both congressional and popular. In part 1, Martin J. Medhurst, Mel Laracey, Jeffrey K. Tulis, and Stephen E. Lucas set forth differing perspectives on how the rhetorical presidency ought to be understood and evaluated. In part 2, eleven scholars of nineteenth-century presidential rhetoric investigate the presidencies of Martin Van Buren, John Tyler, James K. Polk, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, Benjamin Harrison, Grover Cleveland, and William McKinley. As the first volume ever to focus on nineteenth-century presidents from a rhetorical perspective, Before the Rhetorical Presidency examines administrations, policies, and events that have never before been subjected to rhetorical analysis. The sometimes startling outcomes of these investigations reveal the need for continuing debate over the nature, practices, and effects of the rhetorical presidency. In a brief afterword, Medhurst raises eight challenges to the original formulation of the rhetorical presidency and in so doing sets forth an agenda for future studies.

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Ben Love

My Life in Texas Commerce

By Ben F. Love; Foreword by James A. Baker III

Serving as CEO of Texas Commerce Bancshares in the 1980s, during the collapse of the Texas banking industry, Ben Love had an inside view of the debacle. His story, told here in detail for the first time, provides an insightful perspective on the Texas banking industry’s evolution after World War II, its decline, and its subsequent recovery. It also offers a glimpse into of the kind of character that creates men of power. Love grew up with his family during the Great Depression. Their farm outside Paris, Texas, taught him hard lessons about opportunity and financial security lessons that would serve him well in the future. After America’s entry into war in 1941, Love flew 8th Air Force B-17 combat missions over Europe, and then settled in Houston with his business degree in the late 1940s. His entrance into the world of banking began as a member of the board of directors for River Oaks Bank & Trust. Houston was rapidly growing into a metropolis, and he accepted an offer to leave River Oaks to join Texas Commerce Bank in 1967. As president of Texas Commerce Bank (TCB) in 1969 and CEO in 197289, Love cultivated change from single banks to holding companies, garnering a national reputation for his banking organization. In 1984, Texas Commerce was the twenty-first-largest bank in the country. Under his competent management, TCB was the only Big Five Texas bank to survive the economic downturn. One reason for its continued success lies with Loves successful merger in 1987 with the Chemical Bank of New York, now J. P. Morgan Chase. Not only does Ben F. Love’s memoir reveal an inside look at the evolution of banking in Texas, but it will serve as an instructional guide to future business leaders and managers.

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